I have to admit, at one time I thought Visual Studio was overkill for those building front-end websites. It felt what most would say was “heavy” and not in tune with the needs of front-end web devs. But with Web Essentials for Visual Studio, that has changed and I cannot imagine doing web development without it.

Web Essentials is a Visual Studio plug-in that makes web development easier by making you more productive when writing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But it does not stop there. It also includes help for other libraries such as CoffeeScript, TypeScript, LESS, and very soon, Sass. It is easy to install, updated often and really considers web standards as a first class citizen.

I could go on and on about every individual feature, but I would recommend that you check out the website and dive into the features section. Here for example is quick insight into what is supported in stylesheets and includes what version of Visual Studio is supported:

Building Modern Web Apps Jump Start

I know you want to jump in and play around with this. While doing so, check out the Building Modern Web Apps Jump Start on Microsoft Virtual Academy, especially modules 1 and 4. In this Jump Start, Scott Hanselman, with his team of experts from the Windows Azure Application and Web Tools Platform team, take you on an entertaining journey through all of the latest tools and capabilities for web developers.

Join The Conversation

After you've had a chance to download and install Web Essentials, as well as watch the MVA Jump Start, join the conversation in the Canadian Developer Connection group on LinkedIn. I'd love to hear from you whether you also found it to be unobtrusive, yet allowed you to do front-end web development surprisingly quickly and efficiently. Also share what feature you think you'll be using the most.

Enjoy!